News & Opinion | June 20, 2018 11:12 am

Canada’s Senate Just Paved the Way for Legalizing Marijuana

After historic vote, country's first legal sales of pot are just a few months away.

A man wears a Canadian maple leaf flag with marijuana leaf during the annual 4/20 rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on April 20, 2018. (LARS HAGBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

Canada is set to become the first major economy to legalize recreational marijuana use. The Senate passed legislation on Tuesday and now the bill, which was already approved by the country’s House of Commons, will go to the governor-general, the representative of Queen Elizabeth, as a formality. Once it is approved, the legislation is expected to create a multibillion dollar industry, and Canada will join Uruguay in allowing its citizens to use marijuana on a national level without fear of arrest.

“We’ve just witnessed a historic vote for Canada, the end of 90 years of prohibition,” said Tony Dean, the senator who sponsored the bill in the chamber, according to the New York Times. 

Some people are still concerned about the social and health effects of marijuana, but Dean said that the bill will allow them to tackle these harms by being proactive in public education.

It is not known exactly how Canada’s system will operate but the broad plan is for a tightly controlled system. There will be strict limits on advertising marijuana and it will likely be sold in packaging that carries health warnings. For now, candies, baked goods and other edible products containing marijuana will continue to be banned.